Fall 2003

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

From The Desk Of The Sub-Committee Chair Senator Hugh T. Farley

Fall 2003 issue of Trustee

It is a pleasure to welcome Assemblywoman Sandra R. Galef as the new Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries.  I am looking forward to working closely with Assemblywoman Galef as we respond to the needs of all of our libraries.

Although funding for libraries is on the top of everyone's mind, the legislature will also be working this year on several proposals which are not directly related to the current budget.

In my last column I described the Constitutional amendment which Assemblywoman Galef and I are introducing to guarantee the same access to public libraries as the State Constitution presently guarantees to public schools.  This is a long-range goal, but one which could offer our children and grandchildren a significant guarantee of free access to quality library services.

Two other legislative proposals also look toward the future of libraries.

A bill which is near and dear to my heart would create an automatic inflation adjustment or cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for State aid to libraries.  Every year New York increases State aid to school districts. The amount of increase may be an issue, but it has long been a foregone conclusion that there will be an increase.  Libraries, on the other hand, have to endure years of waiting between aid increases.  The COLA bill would annually increase State aid to libraries in accordance with increases in the cost of living, automatically ensuring funding which would keep up with inflation.  This would offer important funding stability for all of our libraries and library systems.

Another proposal would create incentives for people to become librarians. Librarianship can be a ticket to intellectual riches for bright young people.  Part of the long-term survival and growth of libraries will depend upon maintaining a supply of librarians educated in both the strong traditions of our libraries and in the newest technologies of information science.  Some of our best candidates for librarians of the new century are right in front of us -- the pages, clerks, and other staff who are already at work in our libraries.  I'm sponsoring a bill which would award scholarships to individuals currently holding a bachelor's degree who agree to earn an MLS and then work for at least four years in a library in New York State.  This approach would help to offer library staff a career ladder, as well as to support career-changers and recent college graduates. This year's version of the New Century Libraries bill will also include funding for library science scholarships.

When I talk about libraries, I emphasize them as a public investment, rather than a cost.  These legislative proposals would help us to invest in the future of libraries in our State.

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